Cancer Advocates Call on Gubernatorial, Legislative Candidates to Reject Big Tobaccos Contributions

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nearly 20 candidates in New Mexico have taken the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) up on its challenge to “just say no” to Big Tobacco campaign money. With the launch of its website today, ACS CAN goes public with the names of candidates who have accepted the challenge to swear off tobacco campaign cash.

"Tobacco companies have strategically given New Mexico campaigns $1.4 million in the past four years,” said ACS CAN New Mexico Government Relations Director Sandra Adondakis. “They’ve lined the pockets of candidates who they believe will oppose anti-smoking laws and block every legislative effort that could have helped people quit smoking, prevented youth from starting or protected people from second hand smoke. Big Tobacco’s heavy-handed attempts to influence lawmakers must be snuffed out.”

As part of its national Cancer Votes campaign — the nation’s leading voter education program informing the public and candidates about the actions lawmakers should take to make fighting cancer a national priority — ACS CAN New Mexico sent letters in August to every gubernatorial and state house candidate urging them to reject contributions from tobacco companies and their subsidiaries, and asking a simple question: "Will you reject the deception, pain and suffering that fund campaign contributions from tobacco companies and will you stand with ACS CAN and help us snuff tobacco money out of New Mexico politics?"

ACS CAN has tracked contributions since Aug. 1, 2018. Updates will be issued in October and November detailing Big Tobacco’s campaign contributions. If candidates have taken tobacco money, ACS CAN will ask them to return the contribution. Should a candidate fail to return the funds, ACS CAN will list them as rejecting the challenge.

“This campaign season, cancer advocates will keep up a steady drumbeat to ask that candidates put New Mexico’s public health first and reject Big Tobacco’s tainted money,” Adondakis said. “Preventing tobacco use is crucial as there are 40,000 New Mexican children alive today who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. We can’t afford a governor or legislators who’ve been bought by Big Tobacco.”

For more information and to view which candidates have accepted the challenge to snuff Big Tobacco out of New Mexico’s politics, go to acscan.org/NoTobaccoMoneyNM.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org. 8500 Menaul Blvd NE Ste A500, Albuquerque, NM 87112

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